Courier sports staff
CEDAR RAPIDS —
Carter Burns left it all on the court Monday. The Ottumwa sophomore was brilliant, pouring in a season-high 33 points and drilling six 3-pointers against Cedar Rapids Jefferson in the regional quarterfinals of the Class 4A Substate Tournament.
Yet, Burns’s momentous performance wasn’t nearly enough, as Ottumwa fell to the hot-shooting J-Hawks 79-57. Despite the lopsided defeat, Ottumwa performed well — especially on offense — in three of the four quarters. And, more often than not, Burns was at the epicenter of Ottumwa’s offensive output. While senior Austin Walker, who scored 13 points in his last game as a Bulldog, provided Burns with some extra help on offense in the second half, Burns shouldered the breadth of the scoring burden in the first half.
“He was extremely aggressive,” Ottumwa boys coach Chris Gravett said. “What we told him before the game is ‘we want you to take a lot of shots.’ Every three that he took was a shot that was in the flow of the offense.
“I think our guys did a good job of getting him open and hitting him with passes that were right there for him.”
The J-Hawks, ignited by some lights out 3-point shooting, went on a 13-0 run to open up a 13-2 lead in the first quarter. Burns ended the run with a bucket, but it did little to halt Jefferson’s momentum. The J-Hawks Ky Kramer and Jacob Olson, Jefferson’s two leading scorers, tossed in a pair of three-pointers to give the J-Hawks a 19-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Just when things started to look beyond grim for the Bulldogs, Ottumwa went on a 9-0 run, courtesy of two 3-pointers from Burns and one trey from senior Kyle Keck. Ottumwa’s run faded in the final minutes of the quarter and the Bulldogs trailed 35-18 at halftime.
A couple of baskets by Walker and Burns shaved Jefferson’s lead down to 12 early in the third quarter before the J-Hawks went on another scoring binge to put the game away for good. Despite the growing deficit, Burns and Walker continued to drill one 3-pointer after another. Although Ottumwa’s offense continued to churn out points, the Bulldogs were never able to get enough stops to cut into the J-Hawks lead.
Jefferson will play at Burlington Friday in the regional semifinals. Ottumwa (2-20, 1-11) will lose Walker, Keck and Charlie Altfillisch to graduation, but Burns, Andrew Altfillisch, Hopwood, Chris Peden and Matthew Moreland will all return.
While it was a tough way to end the season for Ottumwa, the boys gave everything they had in their final contest and had one of their most proficient games from beyond the arc. Even in defeat, the Bulldogs managed to end their season in honorable fashion.
“You have to give our kids credit for fighting until the end and showing true character,” Gravett said.
Cedar Rapids Jefferson 79, Ottumwa 57
Ottu 4 14 16 23 — 57
Jeff 19 16 28 16 — 79
Ottumwa (57) — Carter Burns 33, Austin Walker 13, Brok Hopwood 3, Kyle Keck 3, Matt Moreland 4, Chris Peden 1. Totals 20 FG 6-7 FT 79.
3-point goals — 11 (Carter 6, Austin 3). Fouled out — None. Total fouls — 14.
Jefferson (79) — Ky Kramer 15, Jacob Olson 31, Jake Van Oort 3, Creighton Robinson 10, Lucas Larson 5, Layne Sullivan 12, Brandon Weiderin 2, Marcus Colbert 2. Totals 29 FG 11-16 FT 79.
3-point goals — 10 (Olson 5). Fouled out — None. Total fouls — 14.